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Cabinet recommends re-promulgation of land ordinance

The Union Cabinet on Saturday recommended re-promulgation of the controversial Land Acquisition Ordinance.

The land ordinance will be issued for the third time. The Ordinance was promulgated for the first time in December last year to amend the 2013 Act. Despite being passed in Lok Sabha, the government did not take it to Rajya Sabha as it lacked numbers there.

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The Ordinance was re-promulgated in March this year and will lapse on June 3. The recommendation of the Union Cabinet will be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for its approval.

The government, which had promulgated the ordinance twice on the bill since December after it faced continuous resistance especially in Rajya Sabha, where it does not have the numbers, had agreed to refer it to the committee, during the recently concluded Parliament session.

The first meeting of joint Committee of Parliament on the contentious land bill yesterday saw a number of Opposition members raising questions over the rationale of the government changing provisions of the 2013 land law.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the government’s arguments in favour of the bill, the members had demanded a “composite” inter-ministerial reply on the issue.

At the meeting, the Rural Development Ministry and Legislative department in the Law Ministry had made a presentation to members on the amendments made to the The Right To Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

As the officials of the two ministries explained the amendments, members from the Opposition parties including Congress, BJD, TMC and the Left had raised questions over the rationale of doing away with the consent clause while acquiring land.

While the 2013 law required that the consent of 80 per cent of land owners was obtained for private projects and that the consent of 70 per cent of land owners be obtained for PPP projects, the present bill exempts the five categories from this provision of the Act.

These categories include defence, rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects including public private partnership (PPP) projects where the government owns the land.

The 2013 Act also required that a social impact assessment be conducted to identify affected families and calculate the social impact when land is acquired. This provision has been done away with.


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